Dear readers,

Yes, this is basically a haiku blog. But because I am actually a very wordy person and not satisfied to stop at tiny little poems, you will also find here extraneous rambling meditations on the haiku form, other Japanese poetic forms, poetry in general, writing in general, and other random stuff that I just felt like writing about. Also, pointless anecdotes about what is going on in my life. Feel free to ignore whatever you want.

Oh, about me? I live in the upper Midwest of the United States (but I came from the East and still miss the mountains and the ocean). I’m a reader, a writer, a student, a mother, and now, to my great shock, a poet. I never thought that would happen. But I am beginning to realize how very unpredictable life is.

If you want, go ahead and drop me a line and tell me what’s what. I learn from my readers all the time. That’s the best part of having a blog, it keeps you from thinking you know everything.

Thanks for stopping by. Wish I could offer you some tea and cake.


Melissa Allen


Looking for something that looks more like a real bio? Try The Haiku Registry.

Oh, and here’s that email address again in case it blew by you the first time: reddragonflyhaiku@gmail.com

61 thoughts on “About

  1. Awesome blog! Good to know there are others out there with the same idea as me! Thanks for commenting on my own blog. I’ll definitely do my own haiku a day project starting Jan. ’11. This is so exciting! 😀 I’ll be following your work!

  2. Great site! I very much enjoy your Haiku and I also enjoy your essays.

    Now you’ve got me contemplating Haiku with less syllables. The idea of trying it myself is intriguing and intimidating!


    • Thanks, Dan — I’ve been enjoying your work as well. Glad to have you around — it’s great to have such a supportive community while I try to figure out what on earth I’m doing. 🙂

  3. aloha Melissa – inviting me to chatter… that can easily become a rambling bush.

    spending time on your blog is a lot of fun (i did this earlier but did not get all the way back to where you started) – you have haiku gems here – and i do mean your haiku. some made me laugh. some gave me that spot-on-ah-ha jolt. cool.

    Haiku Jane – yeah, i have to agree – her haiku insight is ah-ha all the way. her words regarding 5-7-5 and why that isnt what makes haiku, haiku was mind opening for me – okay and a lot of other things she brings up make a lot of sense too…

    as for what’s what. heck if i know. …of course… i do wonder. and think. i’d say haiku is one of those things that is best set as a life long endeavor. – good stuff often seems to be that way. the more i learn about haiku the more i know i dont know and the more fun it is to find out… one day i hope to forget it all and blossom. the good part of a life long endeavor is that we can start on that journey every day and may be blossom every day too. way cool on your haiku every day and yeah, this is a good idea for a blog as far as i’m concerned. blog on.

    breath count
    slowing the wings
    of a butterfly

    aloha – Wrick (yeah, that haiku is from today)

    • Wrick — I’m trying not to let your flattery go to my head. 🙂 Thanks much for the kind words, and I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself here. That really is my main goal — to make this a place people will want to visit, whether for entertainment or enlightenment or just to snicker at my pretentiousness and ignorance. 🙂

      Like you I’m hoping this will be the work of a lifetime — it’s one of those things that seems so simple when you start and then one day you wake up and realize with horror exactly what you’ve gotten yourself into: you are doomed to start again every day a task that is essentially impossible. But by then you’re addicted. 🙂

      Love your haiku. I am trying to remember to breathe better myself these days.

      Keep in touch. — Melissa

      • bwahahahaha aloha Melissa – i think you do a great job of being you and moving in this thing of haiku. i rarely see improvement from one of my haiku to the next. and if i do, i’m right back down unimproved on the one after that.

        it’s only when i look at a number of them from a year ago and then a number from another time that i can see growth. …altho it isnt always in the preferred direction.

        still, within each year there are a few of my own haiku that i think are reasonable… that doesnt seem to last long either. what else is there to do but keep going?

        what i’ve seen in your haiku, to me says, this gem will become your common haiku and your superb haiku will sit atop that – then keep your head out of those flattery flowers. heck better yet, just keep right on haiku-ing.

        yeah. i remember that day when i first realized how extensive this haiku stuff is – it is daunting and overwhelming. and now i realize i may not have a clue at all. essentially i scramble to remain about where i am. …of course sometimes… this is fun too.

        haiku on.

        muddy hand
        against the wall
        a street poet

        • Oh I know what you mean about the ups and downs Wrick … some days you’re on, some days you can’t write anything but cliches. You just have to take it as it comes and do your best, I guess. (See what I mean about cliches?)

          Don’t worry, I’m not stopping any time soon … Really, I spend all day thinking about all the different things I want to try with haiku and the different things I want to write about and learn about…I could work on haiku-ing and this blog twelve hours a day, which is not an experience I have ever had with anything else in my life. It’s a weird thing to have discovered this kind of passion at my age.

          Your haiku here is great again. You definitely have a unique vision, hold on to it.

          thanks for your correspondence. 🙂

  4. thanks for dropping by my little blog and your kind comments.
    this looks so interesting — I’m definitely going to come back and read all your posts. so much to learn out there; it’s nice to see honesty and exploration. thanks for this blog!


  5. thank you for visiting my blog and for adding me to your blogroll – i’m thrilled and honored! cheers, fellow one-a-day-er, i love brevity! (smile)

    • Thank *you*, y. I have to say I am so excited by your site and actually had to stop reading because I felt I was getting overwhelmed by how much I like your poems — this does not happen to me very often, I am pretty picky about poetry! I don’t know why, something about your vision of the world and the way you articulate really speaks to me. I am amazed at the quality you are able to sustain writing on a daily basis. I’ll be catching up with your archives gradually … see you around. 🙂

      • i am grateful for such gracious compliments coming from a strong writer like yourself. i look forward to reading more haikus, and thank you for taking the time to dig into my extensive archives (smile).

    • David — thanks for stopping by and adding me to your blogroll — hope to see you around more. 🙂 Yours was one of the first haiku blogs I encountered when I was starting this journey and it still inspires.

    • Thanks for dropping by, Kellie. I’m glad you like the blog and I hope you’re inspired to write more haiku soon. They can be addictive, though, so watch out!

  6. I found you though twitter. I have some exploring to do through your blog. I love how you are discussing haiku – a contemporary commentary of haiku and your links to the masters. Thank you for a great new blog for me to explore Melissa


    • Thanks, Andrew! I have just been looking at your blog myself — there is some great stuff there, I really like your recent haibun in particular. I see you have Ashley Capes on your blogroll — he’s a pal of mine too. Hope to hear more from you. I still think the best thing about this blog is its readers. 🙂 We have a lot of fun conversations around here …

  7. Surfing the waves of the web I am pleasantly stranded in this beautiful blog.

    I write under the pseudonym of Josè Pascal (a descendant of the great Colonel Aureliano Buendía).

    I invite you to visit my italian writing blog http://parolesemplici.wordpress.com.
    I define this blog “In parole Semplici” as a “virtuacultural tin” box where they are guarded thoughts, memories, images, sounds, and simple stories. ”

    If you want to participate and to have more informations send me a letter to inparolesempli@gmail.com

    Good life and I hope to soon
    Josè Pascal

      • Dear Penpusherpen,
        many thanks for your reply.
        These days I translated my blog in English.

        I invite you to collaborate a intercultural blog (in english and italian language) where the people of the world can put thoughts, images, sounds and simple stories.
        I hope you will partecipate.

  8. Hi Melissa,

    Thank you so much for the kind nod to my haiku in the current issue of Modern Haiku in your Across the Haikuverse # 13.

    Sari Grandstaff

  9. Dragonflies: Two Haiku and a Song

    Basho wrote:

    unable to hang on
    tip of grass

    Tonbou ya / tori-tsuki-kaneshi / kusa no ue

    Vivid beneath the clear blue autumn sky, a dragonfly—most skillful acrobat in the insect world—whizzes about the tall grass, grabs for a tip swaying in the wind, but MISSES ITS TIMING. Instantly it recovers and flies away. There is only the moment, so brief and fleeting we cannot hold onto it in imagination. Try to think about it—and it’s gone. This profound masterpiece defies us to simplify our minds, to stop thinking and simply SEE, as a child would, the dragonfly’s momentary loss of coordination. To enter into the insect’s reality, we must be free of all self-generated thoughts about anything other than what is actually occurring.

    Basho’s DRAGONFLY verse contains no children, no people at all – except for the child observer – however has links to two well-known portraits of children by Japanese of later centuries.

    Possibly the saddest haiku ever written was signed with the name of the well-known woman poet Chiyojo, however there is no evidence she actually wrote it. It has the headnote:
    “When I lost my child”

    Dragonfly chaser,
    on this day, how far
    have you wandered?

    A mother sees her son chasing dragonflies in heaven.
    The feeling here is universal and belongs to mothers everywhere.

    A baby born in 1889 riding on his babysitter’s back saw a dragonfly dart over the field, and a few years later himself chased these marvelous flying acrobats. He wrote haiku and tanka in grade and middle school, and by his teens was recognized as a genius. As an adult he participated in the Red Bird Movement which fostered children’s spiritual development through song. In 1921, Miki Rofu wrote the lyrics to the ultimate Japanese children’s song, the song with the haunting melody (by Yamada Kosaku) that flows through the consciousness of every Japanese child and adult:

    Aka Tombo, “Red Dragonfly”

    Evening glow, faint glow, red dragonfly —
    carried on her back, I saw it, when was that day?
    In the hills a field of mulberries
    she gathered in a small basket, was it a dream?
    Only fourteen, she went as a bride.
    From her village, one letter came, then no more
    Evening glow, faint glow, red dragonfly
    It stops! On the tip of bamboo pole

    To see the vast reservoir of resources for understanding humanity, especially women and children,
    in Basho’s renku, haiku, letters, haibun, and spoken word,
    click on https://www.basho4humanity.com/topic-description.php?ID=1525955995


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